of the Disabilities Network of New York City
Network Meets with DOT, MTA about Curb Cuts
Subways Move Towards Better Relations Between Disability Community
Almost 90% of NYC’s subways stations have NO elevators, and due to eroded curb cuts many of the City’s 158,738 street corners are unsafe to navigate using a wheelchair or white cane.
To work on solving these problems, the Transportation Committee met with executives at the Department of Transportation (DOT) this spring about the state of disrepair of curb-cuts throughout the city. The DOT executives indicated that they are mandated by a lawsuit to install curb cuts on all corners of the city before they can repair existing ones.
However, the DOT seemed open to continued dialogue and cooperation with the Committee in the future.
The Committee also met with Metropolitan Transit Authority (MTA) in the spring. The Committee plans to return with specific requests for action, such as a set of subway stations that need improvements.
Better MTA Service for Riders with Disabilities?
Bills Would Require Daily Elevator, Bus Lift Inspection, Create Riders Council
The Network joined officials this May to announce bills to reform service for transit riders with disabilities.
The bills would create a Metropolitan Transit Authority Riders Council for People with Disabilities and require daily inspection of station elevators, bus lifts, and other access features and better oversight and repair.
Director of Advocacy Lawrence Carter-Long spoke at a press conference with Assembly Member Micah Kellner, Senator Thomas Duane, Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer, Chair of the Assembly Taskforce on People with Disabilities Michele Titus and Assembly Member Linda Rosenthal. Network Members Marvin Wasserman and Mike Godino of Brooklyn Center for Independence of the Disabled, Nancy D. Miller of VISIONS/Services for the Blind & Visually Impaired, Terence Moakley of the United Spinal Association, Edith Prentiss of the 504 Democratic Club, Carr Massi of Disabled in Action, Joe Rappaport of Taxis For All and Robin Einbinder of the Multiple Sclerosis Society NYC Chapter participated. NY1 and WCBS covered the conference.
“If you can’t get to your residence, place of business, or health care provider, your quality of life is diminished" - Lawrence Carter-Long addresses the crowd at the press conference. Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer stands to his left.
Photo courtesy of Assemblyman Micah Kellner.
More Accessible Taxis on the Road!
New Medallions, Hearing Loops, Call-In Service
In response to the efforts of Network Members & other advocates, the Taxi & Limousine Commission (TLC) sold 87 wheelchair/scooter accessible medallions this May. When the new cabs are ready, there will be 231 wheelchair accessible taxis on the road. While that's still less than 2% of NYC's 13,000-plus "street hail" cabs, it's progress towards a 100% accessible fleet!
Also, the TLC has installed induction loops, equipment that allows hard-of-hearing riders to hear the driver, in a small number of cabs as a pilot program, thanks to the advocacy of the Alexander Graham Bell Association Hearing Access Program and others.
This summer, in response to consumer demand, the TLC will pilot a dispatch service to allow wheelchair users to call for an accessible cab. In addition, Network Member Easter Seals solicited input from wheelchair users to develop a curriculum for training drivers of accessible for-hire vehicles at a forum held in concert with the Disabilities Network.
Network Members have won increases in the number of wheelchair accessible cabs every year since 2005.
Taxi & Livery Forums Scheduled for Fall
Despite these improvements, the vast majority of taxis are still wheelchair inaccessible, and even fewer have features for riders with other kinds of disabilities. Moreover, livery companies are not required to own an accessible vehicle.
To advance solutions to this issue, the Disabilities Network and Easter Seals will hold five Forums on Accessible Taxis & Liveries, one per borough, this fall. The Forums will:
1. Provide all stakeholders input regarding taxis, liveries and the TLC call-in system.
2. Get the issue in front of policymakers and the public.
3. Establish dialogue between the TLC, taxi industry and disability community.
Each Forum will consist of a panel followed by Q&A and will be held on City University of New York campuses. The TLC, Metro Taxicabs Board of Trade, all Borough Presidents, City Council Transportation & Disability Services Committees, independent living centers and the Mayor's Office for People with Disabilities will take part.
Disabilities Network of NYC: